Sen. Lindsey Graham on judicial oversight of drone assassinations: ‘worst thing in the world’
By End the LieSenator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said that judicial oversight of drone assassinations would be the “worst thing in the world” in response to the many people calling for some kind of court overseeing the so-called targeted killing program.
Unfortunately, many of the recommendations for oversight are essentially calling for another secret court to oversee the killings, a situation which is far from ideal.
Still, one might argue that anything is better than the current system wherein anyone can be targeted for assassination, even without clear evidence, according to a leaked Justice Department white paper, based on a secret executive branch review – all built on a secret legal justification which never has to be publicly revealed.
Graham – the same individual who revealed that the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA indeed apply to Americans way back in 2011 – made the statements in response to calls for oversight by Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican.
It is important to point out that Paul is among the few in Washington who have actually been quite open in questioning the drone program, especially surrounding President Barack Obama’s nominee for director of the CIA, John Brennan.
These questions, among others, have led to delays which the White House chief of staff has called “a grave concern,” according to the Associated Press.
“Senate Republicans are also talking about holding up the nomination of John Brennan, the president’s chief counterterrorism adviser, to head the CIA and Rand Paul […] says one of the things he wants to ensure is that a president can’t order a drone attack against an American citizen without a judicial review,” Chris Wallace said on Fox. “Is Senator Paul wrong?”
“Well I think the worst thing in the world is to have the courts decide who to target in the war on terrorists – terrorism,” replied Graham, correcting himself.
“Courts are not military commanders. The commander-in-chief has the right under our law and the authorization to use military force [sic] to designate the enemy,” Graham continued, improperly citing the name of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF).
“I think we do need drones to patrol our borders,” Graham said. “But I don’t think you need a drone to attack an al Qaeda operative inside the United States.”
“We’re using drones where there’s really no soldiers along the Afghan-Pakistan border,” Graham incorrectly stated, ignoring the fact that Americans have been killed in Yemen and that the deadly drone strikes actually occur deep inside Pakistan, not only along the border.
Furthermore, he ignored the drone strikes in Somalia not to mention the fact that another drone base will reportedly be placed in Niger. Unfortunately, it looks as though these strikes will continue indefinitely.
“But I very much believe we’re at war and any American citizen who aids al Qaeda should be treated as an enemy combatant, not a common criminal,” Graham said. “We’ve done that in every other war and drones are just a tactical weapon in the overall war.”
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Watch the short clip of Graham on Fox News Sunday below: